One year ago today, Hurricane Sandy smashed into the New York area, the worst natural disaster the city has seen in a hundred years.
We survived and recovered because that's what we do. And we did so with a resilience surprising even to those in the thick of the recovery effort. But the consequences of the storm are far-reaching, still playing out, and for many voiceless residents and business owners, recovery never came at all.
Over the past 12 months we've attempted to document the city's reconstruction through the lens of its culinary culture—restaurants bouncing back, food industry workers donating their time and equipment, food lovers giving everything they can. The city has come a long way. Here's a look back at how it got here, and what work remains to be done.
Surveying the Damage
Immediately following the storm, we hit the streets and checked in with restaurants to see the storm's immediate damage.
- On the Streets of Chinatown, NYC after Hurricane Sandy
- How Hurricane Sandy is Affecting Restaurants in NYC
Rebuilding in the Dark
While downtown Manhattan and parts of Brooklyn and the Rockaways were without power, restaurants and food industry workers didn't hesitate to help however they could. For some, that meant providing free meals with food that was about to spoil. Others headed out to the most damaged neighborhoods in the city to feed those in need.
- Scenes from After Sandy: Food Folks Keep Serving, Help Out
- NYC FoodFlood: Chefs Bring Their Dishes to NYC's Hardest Hit
- NYC Restaurants and Food Trucks Giving Back to Sandy Victims
- More Hurricane Sandy Relief from Burgers and Food Trucks
- Dining in the Dark: A Beacon of Lower Manhattan at Tertulia During the Sandy Blackout
The Long Road to Recovery
Power was restored to Lower Manhattan a week after the storm first hit, a symbolic victory for the recovery effort. But as life started to get back to normal in the heart of the city, its fringes were still hard at work figuring out what "normal" meant.
- More Than Just Cupcakes: Robicelli's Bakery on the Front Line of Sandy Relief
- Bay Ridge Cares Kitchen: Sandy Relief Through Feeding the Soul
- Post-Sandy, Added Value Farm in Red Hook is Getting Fresh Produce to Neighbors
- Support South Brooklyn's Bread Bakers
- The Lasting Impact of Hurricane Sandy on NYC's Food Artisans
The Totonno's Saga
In late November, the New York Times reported that Totonno's, perhaps the city's greatest pizzeria, was in danger of closing. Just a few years after a fire ravaged the Coney Island pizzeria's oven, Sandy trashed the restaurant, leaving the owners to rebuild with nothing but faith on their side. In late March the pizzeria reopened to a grateful New York.
- Restoring Our Church of Pizza: The Rebuilding and Repairing of Totonno's After Hurricane Sandy
- Checking In On Our Church of Pizza: Is Totonno's In Danger of Closing?
- Checking In on Totonno's: Chef Daniel Patterson of Coi to Donate $5,000 to Brooklyn Pizza
- Letters to Totonno's: Pete Wells, Allison Robicelli, Cookie Cimineri, and Others on America's Church of Pizza
- Totonno's is Officially Back in Business!
- Totonno's: Back at It
Months passed and the storm's most visible damage was repaired. But many food businesses, mired in debt, rubble, and bills they couldn't pay, weren't out of the woodwork just yet.
- Two Months Later, Still Struggling: Court Street Grocers and La New Yorkina After Sandy
- Anatomy of a Recovery Effort: Why Governor Isn't Reopening After Sandy
- Shore Soup: Serving Comfort and Social Justice to the Rockaways
- Seven Months After Sandy, South Street Seaport Restaurants Still Struggling
- When Good Intentions Go Awry: The Great GoogaMooga's Setback to Post-Sandy Recovery
One Year Later
Over the past few weeks we've revisited restaurants we spoke to earlier to see how they're doing. For most of us, things are finally back to normal. But some are still struggling but see the way out and others have moved on to new horizons, the storm's lasting damage to great to surmount.
- One Year Later: The Food Industry Takes Stock After Sandy
- One Year Later: The Food Industry on Coming Together After Sandy
- Feeding People and Communities One Year After Hurricane Sandy
- Why Sandy-Damaged Restaurants Are Staying in Flood Risk Neighborhoods
For now the story ends here. But the articles above are tiny slices of a much larger, ongoing process that's as much about prevention of the next disaster as recovery from the last one.
What about your story? Where are you now one year later? Let us know in the comments.